East Portland honors Veterans, and others who serve

Find our why this outer East Portland church put on a unique celebration during “Veterans Day weekend” …

Guests check in at the annual “Veterans and First Responders Breakfast” hosted by Mannahouse.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Scores of people came to the campus of Mannahouse (formerly known as City Bible Church) on Rocky Butte to take part in their annual “Veterans and First Responders Breakfast” on Saturday morning. November 9.

Inside the large activity room, tables were set with white linen tablecloths and decorated with patriotic centerpieces. On the corner of the stage was a table and chair at which one could be seated – symbolically representing Prisoners of War and Missing in Action service people.

Judith Ann Gascon – who plays piano, sings, and “entertains the troops” at the VA Hospital and other locations – provides live music for the event.

“As part of Veterans Day week, we hold this breakfast with live music; we sing and have a lot of fun with Armed Services veterans, as well as people currently serving our city at Portland Fire & Rescue and the Portland Police Bureau (PPB),” said the organizer, Chaplain (Ret.) Terry Schrick, the Military & First Response Chaplain at Mannahouse.

“Our church sponsors this breakfast because we owe so much to the generations who have served in the military, and are currently serving service ‘walking the thin blue line’ on our streets, and providing public safety,” Schrick told East Portland News.

They include police and fire first responders, Schrick explained, because – as was in the case for returning Vietnam veterans who were treated “horribly” – “some people are now doing the same thing to law enforcement. So, that’s why we honor our past vets and our police officers and firefighters.”

The event’s organizer, military Chaplain (Ret.) Terry Schrick, serves as Master of Ceremonies at the celebration.

Special observances, such as this one, help Mannahouse meet their mission, said Schrick, “Because it’s a way of reaching out in the community, making a difference in people’s lives – and this we do, based on the example of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

After the Posting of the Colors and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, those in attendance had the opportunity to meet and greet one another at their tables.

The program officially begins with the Pledge of Allegiance.

Ready to talk about his experiences serving in the US Air Force, from 1943 to 1945, is Jack Owens.

The featured speaker, 96-year-old Jack Owens, said he was there to talk about his experiences as a combat veteran.

“We were stationed in the British Isles, and I ended up near the Scottish border,” Owens recalled. “I flew 33 missions, and fortunately I lived through them all. All the military branches are great, but I love the Air Force best, because I love flying.”

Working on bombers as a flight engineer, Owens told how he helped keep planes running while still aloft, even while encumbered by thick warm clothing. “Fortunately my training taught me how to repair or fix the plane while was it was still flying, even at high altitudes.”

At this meeting, veterans and first responders enjoy friendship and hospitality.

“Coming to an event like this, I feel good about it, because it’s good to know that we have strong support for our military people – as we’re being shown here – and all during Veteran’s Week; [and to see] that people are realizing what was fulfilled through harmony and dedication to a cause,” Owens declared.

With two serving lines set up, guests’ plates were quickly loaded with eggs, crispy bacon, sausage and gravy, and waffles by Mannahouse volunteers.

Here being served a hearty breakfast is Portland Police Bureau North Precinct Sergeant John Birkinbine.

“For me, it’s good to come and meet the people who support us in the work we do quietly,” said PPB North Precinct Sergeant John Birkinbine. “It’s a good feeling to be with people who appreciate us and the work that we do, and it’s so good to come spend time with military veterans who served our country so honorably. I think it’s valuable for all of us.”

This place setting reminds everyone present never to never our Prisoners of War and Missing in Action service people.

As they dined, US Army veteran Alan Foley commented, “In many ways, this is better than any parade!”

To learn more about Mannahouse, see their official website: CLICK HERE.

© 2019 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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